The TV market has suddenly seen an explosion in the last couple of years. TV prices have come down to the same levels as those of mid-range smartphone devices.
A good indicator of this is the sheer number of new brands getting into the TV space. Post Xiaomi’s Mi TV lineup we are seeing other smartphone brands such as OnePlus, Huawei, Honor, Motorola also getting on to this bandwagon.
Unlike the newbies, TCL has been around since the 1980s. While TCL sells electronics products across different segments, its TV division has seen a lot of affordably priced models selling in the market. We checked in with TCL India managing director Mike Chen to know more about the brand’s India strategy.
Edited excerpts from the interview follow:
tech2: What is the major USP of TCL products?
Mike Chen: At TCL, cutting-edge technology is our key differentiator. As a brand, we have always endeavoured to bring the latest tech advancements to consumer electronics. We are counted amongst the firsts in the industry to offer QLED with Google-certified Android TVs. With the launch of our latest range, we have also brought advanced AI features to upgrade the TV viewing experience. Powered by AI, our latest product range, the P8 Series offers a seamless interconnected experience. The AI algorithm also studies and analyses each scene and changes the picture and sound quality in real-time to offer an unrivalled and immersive experience.
TCL has invested Rs 2,000Cr for setting up an industrial park for panel and TV assembling for the high efficient supply and further plan to also set up the R&D centre to develop the customized product for India.Image: TCL
Who do you consider your biggest competition in India?
Chen: The Indian market has some strong players. We are inspired by the likes of Samsung, LG and Sony, and enjoy healthy competition in the space.
How do you plan to stand out in the crowded budget Smart TV segment here?
Chen: We have been able to pave a way for ourselves even in a crowded segment with our focus on bringing advanced technology to large-screen segment and packaging the advancements under a comfortable price range. This continues to remain our focus for standing out amidst the Indian market.
What is TCL’s current turnover and market share in India? How do you plan to enhance it?
Chen: We can’t unveil the exact data yet. However, in terms of the market share, we are now in fifth position in the total number of units sold in offline channel, as per the GFK data of August. Furthermore, the gap between TCL and the number four brand is less than 0.5 percent. We have invested Rs 2,000 cr for setting up an industrial park for panel and TV assembling for the high efficient supply and further plan to also set up the R&D centre to develop a customised product for India. This will help us in bringing globally-leading innovations to India a lot quicker and at scale.
What kind of innovations can the customers expect from TCL in 2020?
Chen: We have a full stock of developments in the pipeline for our customers. Without divulging more details, we would like our customers to wait for a full-Range QLED TV, 8K TV, and other advanced AI features.
Any plans for launching your premium series in India soon?
Chen: That is definitely on the cards. We plan to soon come up with our C8 and QLED series, in addition to AC Elite Series and Washing Machine G Series.
What percentage of TCL TVs sold here are made in India?
Chen: No comments
Does TCL plan to stay an online-focused brand in India?
Chen: We have certainly tasted an early and exponential success by focusing on the online medium. TCL today enjoys the number two position on Amazon. Furthermore, iFFALCON, our other brand that focuses on digital-ready home entertainment solutions for the consumers, has climbed to the third spot on Flipkart. However, after establishing our position in the online realm, we are now focusing on aggressively growing our offline reach. This is achieved through TCL exclusive stores and our collaborations with large format retail stores and other offline channel partners.
QLED vs OLED — what is TCL’s preference of panel in the near future and why?
Chen: As a brand, our preferences are governed by that of our customers. Even the future outlook depends on the market response. Although as a manufacturer, we are going to bring both for the Indian consumers, let’s have them answer this question with their purchasing behaviour.
Is the company looking beyond TVs in India?
Chen: Certainly, yes. We have already launched AC, refrigerator, and washing machines. It’s currently available at TCL brand store and other multi-brand outlets.